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The Anonymous Old English Legend of the Seven Sleepers and its Latin Source

Hugh Magennis

Leeds Studies in English: n.s. 22, (1991), 43-56.

The earliest extended treatment of the legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus in a western vernacular language is the anonymous Old English prose version preserved in British Library MS Cotton Julius E vii, the principal manuscript of Elfric’s Lives of Saints, and (in highly fragmentary form) in British Library MS Cotton Otho B x. 1 As was established by P. M. Huber in his wide-ranging study of the legend, published in 1910, the source of the Old English text is the Latin Passio Septem Dormientium {BHL 2316). Huber refers to this Latin version as ‘L^ and he compares it to a number of other Latin versions of the legend.

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